null WH questions

Steven Schaufele fcosw5 at MAIL.SCU.EDU.TW
Tue Oct 27 15:48:17 UTC 1998

Jan Anward wrote:

> Something like that is perfectly possible in Swedish, provided you
> start the sentence with "och" (and):
>         Och den ska till?
>         (and it is.going to)
> In this construction, the null need not be marked by a preposition:
>         Och du heter?
>         (and you are.called)

And Alan R. King writes:

> Colloquial Spanish (at least the variety I am conversant with) makes
> fairly liberal use of what David Gil proposes calling null WH
> questions.  For example:
> A: Estoy cabreado.
> B: Por...?
> A: "I am pissed off."
> B: "Because of/On account of...?"

I'm wondering to what extent constructions like these are different from
the things one can get in very colloquial English, such as:

	And you're going to ... ?
	And your name is ... ?
	Because ... ?

(Always, i believe, at least in my experience pronounced with
significant `stretching' of the last overt syllable in addition to
interrogative intonation)

I grant that English doesn't seem to allow for some of the options that
Jan mentions in connection with Swedish; i can't seem to imagine any
situation in which `And you'll have 0 today?' would sound acceptable to
me, but i have no trouble with `And today you'll have ... ?'  Alan's
suggestion that these are somehow related to echo questions seems worth

Steven Schaufele, Ph.D., Asst. Prof. of Linguistics, English Department

Soochow University, Waishuanghsi Campus, Taipei 11102, Taiwan, ROC

(886)(02)2881-9471 ext. 6504     fcosw5 at

        ***O syntagmata linguarum liberemini humanarum!***

        ***Nihil vestris privari nisi obicibus potestis!***

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